13 October 2010 19:54 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday approved the sale of 15% ethanol fuel blends (E-15), an action that ?xml:namespace>
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the agency was approving an increase of ethanol blending in
She said that her decision for the 50% increase in the volume of ethanol in US gasolines was based on environmental grounds and the need to reduce dependence on foreign oil imports.
EPA said in a policy statement that the decision was made after reviewing “extensive testing and other available data on E-15’s impact on engine durability and emissions”.
However, EPA said that the approval for retail sale of E-15 fuel blends was only for automobiles and light trucks manufactured in 2007 and since.
The agency’s ruling does not authorise E-15 for automobiles manufactured prior to 2007 or for use in “any motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles or non-road engines”.
Jackson said that available test data does not support the safety or efficacy of E-15 in off-road vehicles such as farm or construction equipment or in gasoline-powered engines such as power saws and landscaping maintenance machinery.
She said EPA also would be taking steps to establish E-15 labelling requirements for retail gasoline pumps “to help consumers easily identify the correct fuel for their vehicles and equipment”.
But the American Petroleum Institute (API) said on Wednesday that it was disappointed in what it said was the agency’s premature ruling on E-15.
Bob Greco, the institute’s director of downstream operations, charged that EPA was “rushing though this new fuel standard without complete research”.
“This may be good politics, but it is bad public policy,” Greco said.
“The large majority of today’s vehicle warranties only cover gasoline with up to 10% ethanol,” Greco said. “More ethanol in gasoline could result in the voiding of customer warranties.”
“The EPA also seems to believe that a label on the pump will keep consumers safe from misfueling,” he said, “but the impacts of misfueling are unknown until the necessary research is completed.”
Ethanol industry advocates had earlier warned that an E-15 blend approval was critical to the survival of the
API, petrochemical producers and a wide coalition of other manufacturing, food processing, agricultural and environmental groups have opposed the E-15 petition on grounds that the higher ethanol fuel blend would harm many engines and distribution systems and would not improve the environment.
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